2020 has been a strange year for all of us. For some businesses it was turbulent and for some businesses it was fruitful. Indian startup ecosystem took advantage of it and produced 11 unicorns in 2020 becoming second best after the US.
Here we look at Indian Unicorns in 2020:-
In January 2020, after collecting an undisclosed sum from New York-based Mastercard financial services, Pine Labs became the first unicorn of 2020.
While the transaction details were not disclosed, according to sources, the funding round was pegged at $100-$150 million (Rs 713-1,069 crore). With this, Pine Labs, which is backed by Sequoia Funds, is now estimated at $1.5-1.6 billion.
Noida-based start-up, founded in 1998 by Lokvir Kapoor, Rajul Garg, and Tarun Upadhyay, provides a merchant platform and makes point of sale (PoS) computer software. Pine Labs handles $30 billion per annum in payments and supports approximately 140,000 merchants across 450,000 network points.
Firstcry, a baby goods marketplace based in Pune, raised $296 million (Rs 2,120 crore) in Series E funding from the Vision Fund of Japan-based Softbank in February of this year.
The investment is the first tranche of the total funding of $400 million pledged by SoftBank, according to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings. SoftBank has reserved an additional Rs 703 crore ($100 million) to be invested on the second anniversary of the deal in January 2021.
Firstcry joined the famous unicorn club with this acquisition at a $1.2 billion valuation.
FirstCry was established in 2010 by Supam Maheshwari and Amitava Saha and has been an undisputed pioneer in the segment of omnichannel baby and maternity care items. The startup claims to provide 2,000 brands with two lakh baby and kid goods and has grown its user base to over four million. It has a retail presence spread across 125 cities with over 300 outlets.
In May, Mumbai-based online beauty-turned-omnichannel lifestyle distributor Nykaa raised Rs 66.64 crore from its new Steadview Capital investor. With this investment round, Nykaa is currently priced at $1.2 billion, thereby joining the start-up unicorn group.
Nykaa has been instrumental in shaping the beauty and lifestyle industry in India through its omnichannel scope and curated product offering since its launch in 2012 by Falguni Nayar (former Managing Director at Kotak Mahindra Capital).
Postman, a SaaS startup based in Bengaluru and San Francisco, has the distinction of being the fastest SaaS startup to achieve unicorn status. In June 2020, the six-year-old start-up raised $150 million in Series C financing with a $2 billion valuation.
Established in 2014 by Abhijit Kane, Abhinav Asthana, and Ankit Sobti, Postman provides a forum that, through collaboration with different stakeholders, helps software developers speed up the development process.
Over 11 million developers around the world, and more than 500,000 businesses worldwide, including Microsoft and Twitter, claim to be using the app. 98 percent of Fortune 500 businesses use the site, the start-up says.
In June this year, the decade-old bootstrapped start-up Zerodha joined the unicorn group, with a self-assessed valuation of about $1 billion, based on the start-ESOP up’s buyback exercise. Each share was priced at more than four times the Rs 700 book value per share.
The Bengaluru start-up reported rapid growth in the COVID-19 pandemic, doubling its average monthly user additions from pre-COVID-19 levels to about 200,000 users per month from March 2020 onwards.
The start-up accomplished this with the help of first-time investors who, due to the ongoing recession, wanted to take advantage of the sharp declines in the financial markets.
Zerodha was established in 2010 by Nithin Kamath and Nikhil Kamath and posted a net profit of Rs 350 crore on FY19 revenues of Rs 850 crore. Over the past five years, it has also seen its overall client base grow by nearly 40X to 2.8 million.
Edtech start-up Unacademy joined the billion-dollar club in September of this year, riding on the boom in online learning. A $150 million funding round led by SoftBank was raised by the Bengaluru-based tech start-up, valuing the company at $1.45 billion.
Established in 2015, Unacademy was initially launched as a YouTube channel by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh. Unacademy is the only ed-tech startup to join the list Indian unicorns in 2020.
At present, with a network of over 18,000 teachers and over 350,000 users, the tech platform based in Bengaluru said it plans to use the funds to launch new products and recruit new talent.
Razorpay, which gained unicorn status in October 2020, is the most recent entrant to the club. In the Series D funding co-led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Sequoia Capital India, Fintech startup Razorpay raised $100 million. With this round, the payment start-up based in Bengaluru joined the unicorn club in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since its inception in 2014, the latest financing has provided Razorpay with $206.5 million in investments, which includes its recent $75 million fundraisings in Series C in 2019.
Co-founders Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar founded the start-up in 2014 in an attempt to make the payment process easy for start-ups and SMEs.
Razorpay currently authorises payments to more than five million firms, including Airtel, BookMyShow, Facebook, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Cred, and ICICI Prudential, among others.
Cars24, the online used car marketplace, joined the unicorn club after a Series E round worth $200 million led by DST Global. In the latest round, current backers Exor Seeds, Moore Strategic Projects, and Unbound also participated.
Cars24 is the first company to evaluate more than $1 billion from the used car space.
This is a 2X leap in the value of Cars24 in one year. Last year in October, the Gurugram-based firm raked in $100 million in the Series D round led by Unbound and KCK Global. To develop new market verticals and improve its product and technology capabilities, the net proceeds will be used.
Cars24 has an asset-heavy model, which purchases the car on behalf of dealers, co-founded by Vikram Chopra and Mehul Agrawal. Cars24 is going to double down on bikes, according to Chopra, a new category that started several months ago.
Already, Cars24 claims to have handled over 3,000 two-wheelers so far. Chopra also claims that the transaction volume of the company has exceeded its pre-Covid volumes by more than 20 percent, and with over 15,000 cars transacted each month, month-on-month sales stand at around $50 million.
Zenoti, a beauty and wellness industry cloud software provider, raised $160 million in Series D funding at a valuation of over $1 billion led by Advent International, a US-based private equity company, along with participation from established investors Tiger Global and Steadview Partners.
After Freshworks, Druva, Icertis and Postman, Zenoti is in the coveted Unicorn club, making it only the fifth software product company of Indian origin to do so. It also takes the company’s total amount of capital raised so far to $250 million.
Zenoti said its software controls over 12,000 organisations in 50 countries, delivering mobile-first solutions for scheduling meetings, self-check-in, payments, management of employees and even inventory monitoring.
In 2020, the company said it had seen strong growth, led by companies upgrading their software during the pandemic of Covid-19.
Verse Innovation, the parent company of Dailyhunt, has raised more than $100 million in funding from the Alpha Wave Incubation of Google, Microsoft and Falcon Edge at a value of more than $1 billion, making it the first tech unicorn based on local languages in India.
Present donors Sofina Group and Lupa Systems were also interested in the fundraising project.
The company aims to use the new capital to scale up its Josh short-form video app, expand its local language content offerings, build an ecosystem of content creators and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in it.
Glance By InMobi
As its lock screen platform subsidiary, Glance has raised $145 million in a primary investment round from Google and current investor Mithril Capital, InMobi has seen a second unicorn emerge from its community.
Two people aware of the deal said the financing values the company at a little over $1 billion. Glance became the last startup to join Indian unicorns of 2020 list.
Glance is also one of the fastest startups to reach ‘unicorn’ status, closing in with Ola’s electric vehicle subsidiary, Ola Electric, in a period of fewer than two years (20 months), which reached a $1 billion valuation in 2019.
In two years of starting operations, Business-to-business (B2B) marketplace Udaan, founded by former Flipkart executives and Paytm Mall, achieved unicorn status.